[Linux-aus] FTA circumvention devices

Anthony Towns aj at azure.humbug.org.au
Fri Mar 5 13:09:02 UTC 2004

On Fri, Mar 05, 2004 at 11:35:39AM +1100, Jan Schmidt wrote:
> It doesn't say that... it says I can use my legally bought copy for reverse
> engineering "for the sole purpose of achieving interoperability of an
> independently created computer program with other programs"

Right. But that's because you're (potentially) violating a TPM in order
to do that reverse-engineering, so you (potentially) need permission to
do that. That's what you're given in that clause.

The other thing you're doing, when you've finished your interoperable
program, is distributing a circumvention device. You also need special
permission to do that. Since your reverse engineering is finished, I
don't think you can continue to use that particular clause. There are
others that maybe come close for open source DVD players, but I don't
*think* any of them work either.

> When I say 'interoperability', I mean the ability to read (and maybe write)
> the other program's data format... which in this case is the files on a DVD.
> Is there a legal definition that means something different?

You definitely have the possibility of being able to reverse engineer a 
data format that _doesn't_ include TPMs, and distribute the program. Whatever
TPMs you violated to get at the executable don't matter, and there aren't
any more to worry about. But that's not the case for DVDs.


Anthony Towns <aj at humbug.org.au> <http://azure.humbug.org.au/~aj/>
I don't speak for anyone save myself. GPG signed mail preferred.

             Linux.conf.au 2004 -- Because we could.
           http://conf.linux.org.au/ -- Jan 12-17, 2004
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